Outside of the diagram and project repository at an affordable prices the actual features included UML and re-engineering to build up documentation on existing code bases and databases for my clients. Later it became the ability to customize and support client and industry frameworks – the tools coverage. Now it is being able to support Enterprise level Architecture across all the domains from business to technology.
XMI Import and Export – allows for rapid extraction of model fragment to support reusable assets and model element transfer to other tools & platforms.
How has it helped my organization?
Using the products scripting and namespace management has allowed for the expression of business models (level 1 - 4) for a government agency that provided a ‘tipping point’ for enterprise architecture acceptance. The span of coverage and consistent traceability for view point presentation allows client teams access to continually maintained building block catalogues and alignment with the business models.
What needs improvement?
More control over diagram layout and stylization and the use of layout templates to allow for consistent model view presentation to consumers. This would include improved control of generated HTML views and SVG products and enhanced shape management.
Tagged value and stereotype management – these two UML features offer a lot of control and flexibility over model element treatment and provide benefit to power users.
Needs support for Executive level diagramming for rolling up details back to concept.
For how long have I used the solution?
We've been using it since 2001.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
We had no issues with the deployment.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The only stability concern I encountered was it not recognising that my laptop has limited resources especially as diagram complexity increases.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We have had no issues scaling it for our needs.
How are customer service and technical support?
My personal experience is that Enterprise Architect has a large user community that shares well. As well the direct line support from Sparx Systems is consistent; product knowledgeable; seems to be acceptably responsive and works to resolve the identified issue.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I have used many computer assisted software engineering a model driven architecture tools including some I developed for military application. The list includes Excellator, Uniface, Power Designer, Oracle Designer, Rational Rose, and Software through Pictures, System Architect, Protégé, Microsoft Visio, Eclipse, Visual Studio, and Oxygen.
I use this because of it's low cost per seat, ease of use, MOF/UML based namespace control, high level of standardized notational support, and portability.
How was the initial setup?
Very straightforward – download executable, select repository type, apply the license, and go to work.
What about the implementation team?
Implementation is straight-forward but if this is for a group or large community then having an experienced database administrator and support resources in stewardship roles definitely help. Implementation of product like Sparx Enterprise Architect into Enterprise level Architecture practises usually warrants the establishment of principles practises and procedures to provide governance and support expected results. Tools are only what you make of them.
What was our ROI?
My ROI was well within the acceptable range for a small engineering firm.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Initially we were able to deploy to 15 end users for less than $5,000. Use of floating licensing provides for acceptable coverage at a lower per user cost.
What other advice do I have?
If you are looking for something to just get the job done that does not box you in, then this product is for you, if you are looking for something more, this product grows with you and can address your incremental needs. If you are looking for a rapid implementation repository for projects that can contribute to an overall enterprise approach I think this product greatly helps with the caveat that it is the basis of a buy and build up approach. Lots of add on lend to the enterprise solution.
The above diagram was the basis as a context for architectural capability for a recent client it covers areas that have been implemented around a Sparx based tool set.
The diagram above demonstrates the product’s ability to support Governments of Canada Strategic Reference Model (GSRM) Services Integration and Accountability Model (SIAM) resulting from GRSM Service Pattern Analysis.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.